Interstitial Chemotherapy of the 9L Gliosarcoma: Controlled Release Polymers for Drug Delivery in the Brain

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The administration of drugs directly into the central nervous system using polymers as drug carriers may improve the treatment of malignant brain tumors. In this study, the effect of the interstitial, localized delivery of 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) incorporated into controlled release polymers implanted adjacent to the 9L gliosarcoma was assessed in s.c. and intracranial (i.c.) models. In the s.c. experiment, the 9L gliosarcoma was implanted in the flank of rats and subsequently treated with BCNU either (a) delivered in controlled release polymers inserted adjacent to the tumor or (b) administered systemically by i.p. injections or by controlled release polymers inserted at a site distant from the tumor. The interstitial release of BCNU adjacent to the tumor in the flank resulted in a significant tumor growth delay of 16.3 days, as compared to a growth delay of 9.3 and 11.2 days obtained with the systemic administration of BCNU. In the i.c. experiment, the 9L gliosarcoma was implanted in the brain of Fischer 344 rats and treated either (a) with controlled release polymers containing BCNU inserted into the brain or (b) with the systemic i.p. administration of BCNU. The interstitial release of BCNU in the brain resulted in a significant 5.4- to 7.3-fold increased survival, compared with a 2.4-fold increased survival after the systemic administration of the same dose of BCNU. The two groups with i.c. tumors treated interstitially had 17 and 42% cures, but no long-term cures were obtained in the group treated with systemic therapy. The localized, controlled delivery of chemotherapeutic agents in the s.c. tissues and in the brain via polymeric carriers may be more effective than standard systemic chemotherapy. This approach could be used to deliver a wide variety of agents into the central nervous system to treat diverse neuropathological conditions which remain refractory to systemic therapy.